On August 4, the Church celebrates the feast of St. John Mary Vianney. He is the patron saint of all pastors or parish priests.
Every time I think of Vianney, what comes to mind is that he exceptionally excelled in his pastoral duty of shepherding his people, though he faced many hardships in academics during his seminary education days, which did not deter him from loving God so passionately. Additionally, he had a great love for his people, urging them to repentance, mortification, and reconciliation.
One of his distinctive qualities as a shepherd was that he sat for the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession for hours, with or without a break and a little food. Interestingly, people of all walks of life from far and wide—the elite, nobles, royals, and commoners alike—thronged to him to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These efforts of his pastoral commitment and duty enabled people to convert their lives in Ares, which was known to be a desolate place as people of the city lived not-so-righteous lives. By dint of his pastoral work, Vianney challenged all, and that contributed to people’s turning a new leaf—from a life of sin to a life of grace.
Certainly, taking a cue from Vianney’s life, we can say that God invites us daily to the state of grace through the sacraments and reading and reflecting on the Sacred Scriptures. In this way, he always becomes a great example for everyone. Hence, God calls us to a life of repentance and reconciliation. Besides, we need to help others repent through our deeds of sacrifice, witness, and service to all. In short, we are called to be agents or catalysts of change with God’s grace.
Another notable trait of Vianney was that he remained focused on God and people as part of his pastoral duty. His unwavering commitment to pastoral work brought about many transformations in the lives of people and communities. It was possible because Vianney had a big heart for God and people. In other words, his passion for God and compassion for people were a driving force and praiseworthy. Without a doubt, we need to imitate him in our daily lives with the same zeal as his.
In conclusion, as we honor Vianney today, we pray through his intercession that we may follow his life and examples here and now.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.